NBA Finals: Bucks vs. Suns

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Game 3 Postgame

Milwaukee Bucks 120, Phoenix Suns 100

Q. It looked like you really prioritized moving the ball around, swinging it to give you some space. What did you see on the floor? Were you seeing more space on those rolls to the rim and your drives?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Not necessarily. I don't think I got a lot of screens at all. I feel like the low man was always there coming, but like at the same time, it creates a lot of attention. Like if the guy, the low man comes, the corner is wide open; and if the corner is shooting the wing, he's wide open. I feel like it's not the first action; it's the second action, it's the third action, right. So, we have to keep moving the ball. We've got to keep moving those guys, and at the end of the day, everybody touches the ball, everybody feels good but that's the only way we can be effective offensively.

Q. What does it feel like for you to kind of fight in the lane for one of those? It felt like three or four times tonight, there's hands everywhere, the ball is flying around, and you get one and dunk it. How good does it feel to get it and dunk it and what does it feel like to get the hands around you all the time?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: It feels good to finish the play but at the same time, you know, there's so much traffic in there. But, hey, I've got to keep the ball high, make the right play. I feel like in the previous game, Game 2, there was so much traffic and I wasn't able to make the corner pass to guys or make the right pass to guys.

But now being at home, you have a little more confidence and your legs feel better and you can finish some of those plays. But there's a lot of traffic in there. We have to keep making the right play and sometimes it's going to be -- if not, that means somebody's open.

Q. Do you move that fast, also?


Q. Two things. One, you came out of the game just a couple minutes in. Was anything wrong there or anything like that?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: No. No, no, no. I just wanted to take a breather and come back. A lot of intensity. I was just, take a break. I've always discussed with Coach, like say, "Coach, if I need like 30 seconds, one minute, I'm going to let you know." And I think that was a time I needed, like 30 seconds to a minute just to catch my breath, and get back to the game. There was nothing wrong with me.

Q. I know you said before, you can't predict the future.


Q. But Michael Jordan had four straight 40 point games…

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I'm not Michael Jordan.

Q. Is that in jeopardy?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I'm not Michael Jordan. Forty points, straight?

Q. Four in a row.

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I'm not Michael Jordan. But you know, all I care about right now, it's getting one more, that's all. Just take care of business, doing our job.

Q. Are you still getting treatment on your knee around the clock or do you feel better?


Q. When you missed those two games you didn't sound too upset but the way you're playing now indicates otherwise -- that you wanted to be determined and play aggressive and play like this. Were you kind of feeling left out?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: No, I wasn't upset. I feel like, you know, at the moment, when the incident happened, obviously a little bit worried. I didn't know what was it; my knee was double the size.

So, a little bit worried but afterwards when I got the MRI, they told me that whatever it is, I don't know if I can talk about it, that I have a chance to come back, even though I'm not 100 percent yet, I have a chance to come back and play and I was extremely happy.

I knew watching my teammates play good basketball, you know, it gave me a chance to come back. At the end of the day, that's all I can ask for. You know, I'm happy that I'm able to be out there. You know, win or lose, doesn't matter the outcome. I feel like everybody worked so hard to be in this moment, and me personally, I'm not trying to make it about me.

So, I was happy, I was happy that I had the chance to come back and enjoy and play with my teammates, and no matter what the outcome is, be out there with them.

Q. The three-day gap between games can seem like forever, maybe more so in the Finals or when facing a 2-0 deficit. Everybody handles that kind of interval differently. Did you spend that time getting away from basketball or more immersed? Can you take us through your thought process and how you handled the last few days waiting for this?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Me, no. You kind of -- there's no excuses. We know what kind of game this was going to be. We knew that if we lose the game, you are in the hole, 3-0 or whatever the case might be. We knew that we had to come here and play great basketball, so I knew that.

So, no matter how I felt or what I went through or if I spent time with my family or didn't spend time with my family or whatever I was feeling, I knew what type of game I'm going to come and trying to face tonight.

So I knew, mentally, I spend time with my family, we come on Sunday, 7:00, ready to play for 48 minutes and do whatever it takes to win the game in order to have the opportunity, and that's all you can ask for.

Q. You guys, you talk about not getting too high, too low, all that stuff, but is part of that because of the -- I guess just the way that you do take things from game-to-game and build off that, you say better every day; did you feel that way after Game 2, that even though it was a loss --


Q. You had done some things right and knew if you came today, you could build on that?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Yeah, we got better from Game 1 to Game 2. And now we got better from Game 2 to Game 3. We've got to keep building. Keep trusting one another. Keep trusting winning habits. Keep making winning plays. Keep competing hard and keep doing it together. But we got better.

So, I've got to go watch the clip of the team tomorrow or the day after, I don't know what the schedule is, but for right now, I feel like we got better from Game 2 to Game 3, and hopefully we can do that and keep doing that.

I feel like in every series, that's what we did as a team and hopefully we have the opportunity to do the same this time. I don't know if we are going to do it but that's our goal as a team.

Q. Looks like you might have figured out something from a matchup standpoint with Crowder and Johnson. Is there anything you figured out from the first two games that you can exploit; that they don't have the rim protection at the rim so you can basically force a lot of fouls and get to the line? Is that something that was intentional?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: No, I'm just out there trying to enjoy the game, trying to play, trying to put myself in a position to be successful. That's what I'm trying to do. You know, when I take each possession at a time, when I have a possession in front of me, I try to get myself in a position, myself in a position to be successful. Sometimes it's driving the ball. Sometimes it's sealing down in the lane. Sometimes it's setting a screen.

I just try to read each possession at a time, and each possession is different. I might say, okay, I'll attack this guy this time, but for some reason that's not working. So, I'm not trying to like have a game plan or strategy in my head. I just want to enjoy the game. I just want to be out there, have fun and compete at a high level and read each possession at a time, which every possession is different.

Q. You were down 36-30 and Bud called timeout and things flipped from there. Curious what happened in the latter part of the second quarter after you took control of the game. And you talked about how you believed in Jrue and the group, and after that, how impressed were you the way he was able to bounce back and play today?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: He's a great player. We need him to keep playing like this. We trust him. He's our leader. He's our point guard. He's one of our scorers. He's one of our defenders. He's a great basketball player, and he's going to keep figuring out ways to be successful.

In that timeout, we just had to play better defense, that's all. Play better defense and rebound the ball better and open and run. Create driving lanes. Create space for Jrue to operate, to get downhill, to get to the spots, to play one-on-one game, to make the right play.

But as for Jrue, as I said, he's a great player and he's going to keep making great plays for us, and we're going to need him throughout the whole series.

Q. In that second quarter run, you had seven straight points to put you ahead, and you had a layup, dunk, right in a row, were you trying to be extra aggressive in that stretch to get you guys back in a rhythm?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: No. I just read each possession at a time. Sometimes I'm going to be aggressive for two minutes straight. Sometimes I'm not. Because the ball is not in my hands because Khris is being aggressive at that time or Jrue.

So, that's why I'm trying to explain that each possession, each time of the game, it's different. I'm not planning what I do. I'm just trying to be out there, trying to take it a possession at a time, try to enjoy the game, try to make the right play, try to screen, rebound, run, whatever I can do.

You know, that's the mindset I had my whole career and that's the mindset I'm having right now, and we were able to get the win today. Hopefully we can get Game 4 also.

Q. You've used the word enjoy, enjoy the game, five or six times just here in the last few minutes. P.J. Tucker told me the other day that he thinks you have really good perspective no matter whether you guys are behind in a series, ahead in a series; that you just feel very fortunate to be playing NBA-level basketball, especially in the Finals. Can you explain a little bit more where that mindset comes from and how much you feel that?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I feel like I've come a long way just to be able to sit here, being interviewed by you guys, playing in this game, being with my teammates, thinking I'm going to be out for a year, coming back. It's been a long journey and I'm trying to enjoy every single moment of it. I've said in the past I know I'm going to be doing this for a while for the next 10, 12, years, whatever my goal is. So, I just try to enjoy each day and try to take as much as possible from each day and try to be in the moment.

And just being able to be out there. Being down or up or whatever the case may be in the series, 20,000 fans outside the arena, cheering your name, cheering for the team and just happy to have NBA basketball at this time of the year with two of the last teams standing after, I don't know, 50 years, whatever the case might be the last time we had an NBA Finals game, that's amazing.

So, I'm not trying to -- I don't worry about the outcome as much as I want to enjoy the game. I want my teammates to enjoy the game and I know that by enjoying the game, I'm going to compete as hard as possible and I'm going to do the right thing to help my team be in the right position and have the opportunity to win any game we play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
110102-2-1043 2021-07-12 04:20:00 GMT

ASAP sports

tech 129